Netflix’s newly released ‘The Tinder Swindler‘ has once again taught us a lesson that why everyone needs to be careful on the internet these days. Any stranger you meet, be it on social media or dating apps, can change your life forever.
The documentary revolves around a professional con artist who used Tinder to ruin the lives of several women.
The man here is Simon Leviev (Shimon Yehuda Hayut), who used numerous persona to lure women into his fantasy world and ended up taking advantage of them. Netflix’s ‘The Tinder Swindler’ sheds light on the stories narrated by three victims and how Simon tricked them.
The documentary’s official synopsis read, ‘posing as a wealthy, Jet-setting diamond mogul, he wooed women online then conned them of millions of dollars. Now some victims plan for payback.’
The three victims described the events differently. The matter got extremely ugly when big newspaper companies got involved, and he was finally hunted down for his atrocious crimes.
It was not the first time he was put behind bars, as back in 2016, he went through trials and was sent to prison. However, the officials did release him.
It made one of the victims (Cecilie Fjellhoy) question why they set him free?
The Tinder Swindler: How did Simon Leviev lure the victims?
Simon Leviev from The Tinder Swindler made use of the popular dating app Tinder for his shenanigans. He was professional in this, and effortlessly, he made himself seem like the real son of the Diamond King and the CEO of LLD Diamonds.
He was flamboyant and would spend tons of money to offer luxurious parties, spontaneous trips abroad in private jets, expensive gifts and dinners.
He would do everything to make others see him as a successful, wealthy businessman.
After making a strong bond, he would show his true colours by acting as if his life is in danger, owing to his business’s dark side and would ask for money.
He would ask the victims to share their credit cards temporarily to get everything sorted while staying low. He would promise to pay all the money back, and having experienced his wealthy lifestyle, the victims didn’t hesitate to help him.
Apart from that, the women would feel inhumane to not support him in his crisis because of their close relationship. It’s not human nature, as we tend to lend our support to people we care about.
Simon would never pay back the entire money he took, and instead, he would forge bank receipts to prove that he had already made the transaction.
The transactions never went through, but he blamed the bank for getting his hands off the mess.
How Simon trapped Cecilie Fjellhoy?
In the documentary ‘Cecilie Fjellhoy’, the first victim met Simon on Tinder in 2018. After having a match, he immediately asked her to meet in person.
He told her he would leave London and asked to meet at ‘Four Season Hotel London’ for a coffee.
Cecilie would describe the hotel as ‘fancy’ and how she felt out of place. His first impression was quite strong and was enough to win her over.
As they neared the end of their date, he asked Cecilie to accompany him on his trip to Bulgaria in his private jet.
Super excited, Cecilie shared her passport and other details with him. The next day, Cecilie would also meet his ex-wife and daughter.
She had a brief moment of chat with Simon’s ex-wife. She described Simon as a good guy who supports the family despite not being together anymore.
From there, things would go merry taking. It would all come crashing down one night when Simon would text Cecilie on WhatsApp that he was attacked, and had it not been for Peter (his bodyguard), he might have died.
From then, he would coerce Cecilie to take on loans after loans on her credit card that he would use for himself. He promised it was temporary, and he would pay all the money.
Cecilie would get extremely scared for Simon when he said he was fleeing to Stockholm for his safety.
Simon used Cecilie’s Money on Pernilla
However, it was far from the truth. In reality, Simon spent all the money enjoying a night out in Barcelona with friend Pernilla Sjöholm (the second victim shown in the documentary).
It was described as Simon’s Ponzi scheme. He used Cecilie’s money on Pernilla and Pernilla’s on someone else. The local authorities couldn’t trace him since he wasn’t using his credit cards and constantly moving to different places.
On the other hand, Pernilla had no romantic relationship with Simon, despite meeting him on Tinder.
Pernilla is a Swedish woman, and she had previous experience with a guy in the diamond industry.
“I’m just thinking: oh my God, another diamond guy,” she thought to herself after matching with Simon. She was immune to Simon’s persona and charm, but they became good friends.
Simon was using Cecilie’s money to have fun with Pernilla. There were numerous occasions when he persuaded Cecilie’s to take hefty loans, which all summed up to $250,000.
Cecilie broke down as $250,000 is quite a lot of money and a loan of such amount would give anyone sleepless nights.
Cecilie had enough asked Simon for the money back. Simo responded by asking her to come to Amsterdams to collect.
In Amsterdam, he gave her a cheque of 500,000 (double of what he owed her). However, the cheque bounced, and on contacting, Simon refused any help telling her that he had already paid. ‘I did my deal,’ narrating Cecilie.
Extremely terrified, she contacted the Amex helpline for assistance. The officials came over to her house, and it’s when she got to know about Simon’s truth.
She returned home to Norway. However, Simon didn’t spare her. He had her passport and other details.
Knowing where Cecilie lives, he threatens her on her mother’s phone, ‘Just watch out. Because with every action, there will be a reaction.‘
Cecilie had a mental breakdown and decided to take help. At the same time, she sought help from Amex.
They responded with ‘Shimon Yehuda Hayut’ and asked her to check for that name. She did a google search and landed on an article that sheds light on how Shimon, an Israeli multi-millionaire, scammed three Finnish women back in 2015.
The shocking revelation came when Cecilie searched the name of the victims and realised that one of them was Simon’s ex-wife, whom she had met earlier.
She decided to seek the help of Norway’s biggest newspaper company, VG. She sent over all her WhatsApp chats and pictures as the document in support, hoping that they would cover it.
Simon used the same tactics to scam Pernilla out of her $40,000. He gave her a cheque which again bounced.
He said that his account was stopped, and to make up for it, he offered one of his luxurious watches, which again was fake.
VG contacted an Israeli Journalist, and they flew to Israel to conduct their investigation. After their investigation, they found that Shimon changed his name to Simon Leviev in 2017 and had been a fraudster since his teens.
In 2011, he was suspected of stealing a check from his employer and forging numerous other cheques. He was supposed to appear in court for trials, but he fled Israel before that.
During their investigation, the VG journalist came in contact with Pernilla. They contacted her and let her know what she was involved in.
They also got to know her side of the story and came up with a perfect plan to snap Simon in Munich.
The story was made to the public, and it went viral. Cecilie met Pernilla and decided to keep the momentum with the common goal to have the story covered by as many newspapers in as many countries as possible.
The US, the UK, Netherlands, Germany and many other countries covered the story. The overwhelming response made many victims come to light and share their experiences.
The Tinder Swindler Ending Explained – How was Simon Leviev caught?
Ayleen Charlotte, the third victim shown in the documentary, came into the picture. She was taken aback by the story, and she immediately contacted Simon.
Simon was scamming her and already duped her out of $140,000. After reading the entire article, she went through her messages and videos. After finding an uncanny resemblance, she connected all the dots and realised what was happening.
She decides to take matters into her own hands to take him down, and she contacted Pernilla.
Ayleen had to get her money back, and she wouldn’t have done that without a proper plan. So she pretended to believe Simon’s claims of the article being fake.
She carried her usual routing with Simon, greeting with Good Morning and Good Night texts to have Simon’s trust.
When Simon asked her to pawn her car and sell her home for money that he would use to “escape his enemies,” an idea struck her.
Being in the luxurious fashion industry, Ayleen knew the worth of Simon’s wardrobe. She insisted Simon have her sell her designer clothes to raise money.
Before flying off to Prague, she received a new credit card named ‘David Sharon.’ She immediately sent a picture of the card to the police to let them know about Simon’s attempt to create a new identity.
Simon wanted to have plastic surgery but was denied by the surgeon.
After returning from the trip, Ayleen cut Simon off and went full force on selling his clothes on eBay to get her money back. Even at the time of the interview, she was selling his clothes.
On being asked, she said, ‘Yes, I’m still selling his things.’
Simon realised Ayleen’s doing and began to bomb her with threats. As days passed, Simon’s condition went from bad to worse as his money was depleting. He started to live off of leftover foods and sleeping in 1-star hostels.
He went from ‘Diamond King’ to ‘Homeless King’ in no time. One morning, Ayleen received one text from Simon to arrange a flight ticket. She texted him back but saw her message wasn’t received. She realised Simon was already on flight.
Simon told her about his plan to fly off to Greece. Based on that, she did a quick google search ‘flights from Prague to Athens today.’
She found one flight exactly the same time as he went offline. She took a screenshot of the flight and sent that to the police. Additionally, she also mentioned that Simon would be flying with a fake passport under the name of ‘David Sharon.’
Interpol arrested Simon at the airport and deported him to Israel.
The Tinder Swindler is currently available for streaming on Netflix.